In the world of guitars, every detail matters. The choice of tonewoods, the quality of pickups, and even the design of the pickguard can significantly impact the instrument’s overall sound and aesthetics. When it comes to pickguards, one of the primary decisions you’ll face is whether to go for a matte or gloss finish. Both options have their unique characteristics, and in this article, we’ll delve deep into the difference between matte and gloss guitar pickguards to help you make an informed decision.

Matte Guitar Pickguards: A Subdued Elegance

Matte pickguards are known for their understated and elegant appearance. They have a flat, non-reflective finish that doesn’t catch the light, making them a popular choice among guitarists looking for a more subtle and vintage look. Here are some key aspects to consider:

1. Aesthetic Appeal

Matte pickguards exude a classic, vintage vibe. They complement guitars with a traditional design, such as acoustic and classic electric guitars. If you’re aiming for that timeless, old-school look, matte is the way to go.

2. Durability

Matte pickguards are generally more durable when it comes to hiding scratches and scuffs. The lack of a glossy finish makes imperfections less noticeable, which is a great advantage for those who want their guitar to maintain its original appearance over time.

3. Minimal Reflection

In performance settings with stage lighting, matte pickguards won’t reflect light, reducing distractions for the guitarist. This can be especially beneficial if you’re frequently playing on stage and need to maintain focus.

4. Fingerprints and Smudges

One drawback of matte pickguards is that they can be more prone to showing fingerprints and smudges due to their non-reflective surface. Regular cleaning may be necessary to keep your guitar looking pristine.

Gloss Guitar Pickguards: Shine and Elegance

On the flip side, gloss pickguards offer a shiny, reflective surface that adds a touch of elegance and modernity to your guitar. Here are some important aspects to consider when it comes to gloss pickguards:

1. Aesthetic Appeal

Gloss pickguards are known for their polished, contemporary look. They work well with guitars that have a modern design, like many solid-body electric guitars. If you want your guitar to stand out and catch the light, gloss is the choice for you.

2. Vibrant Finish

The glossy surface of these pickguards enhances the vibrancy of the guitar’s design and colors. If your guitar has intricate artwork or striking finishes, a gloss pickguard can accentuate these details beautifully.

3. Easy to Clean

One significant advantage of gloss pickguards is that they are easy to clean and maintain. Fingerprints and smudges are less visible on the reflective surface, making it a practical choice for those who want their guitar to look pristine without too much effort.

4. Scratches

However, it’s worth noting that gloss pickguards may be more prone to visible scratches due to their reflective nature. Careful handling and regular maintenance are essential to keep your guitar looking its best.

Making the Choice

When it comes to choosing between matte and gloss guitar pickguards, it ultimately depends on your personal preferences and the style of your instrument. Here are a few factors to consider:

  • Guitar Type: Consider the design and style of your guitar. Traditional designs often pair well with matte pickguards, while modern, vibrant guitars may benefit from a gloss finish.
  • Maintenance: Think about how much time you’re willing to invest in maintaining your guitar’s appearance. Gloss pickguards are easier to clean but may show scratches more prominently.
  • Performance Environment: If you frequently perform on stage, the choice between matte and gloss pickguards can affect how you interact with stage lighting and the audience.

Read: Difference Between Satin Vs Semi Gloss Guitar


The difference between matte and gloss guitar pickguards boils down to aesthetics, durability, and personal preference. Both options have their merits, and the right choice depends on the look and maintenance level you desire for your beloved instrument. Whether you prefer the classic allure of matte or the modern shine of gloss, the decision is yours.